I mentioned in my previous post that we had decided to take the stone off in one area to find out what was underneath. That area is a 1 metre by 2.5 metre subdivision of our excavation area, running north-south…
Wait, I’ll draw it for you. Crudely.
The idea here is that we’re quickly running out of time to excavate this feature and we’d like to be able to answer a few more questions about it to find out what it is and hopefully, make the case that this feature may be something to which archaeologists should return. In order to maximize the amount of information we can get in the few days remaining to us, we decided to take down just a section of it and get at least a few answers, or perhaps a few tantalizing questions.
Here, our participants begin to dig in the window area:
As mentioned before, one of the reasons our progress has been slowed has been due to our careful excavation around the stone rubble which is throughout our pit. Since we were unsure whether it was something structural or not, we had to proceed with caution. In the window, however, we will now remove the stone and be able to see what lies beneath. First, however, it was necessary (and prudent) to photograph the rocks before their removal.
As this stone was removed, we found more wood, iron, slag, and a significant amount of charcoal. It can also be noted here that many of the artefacts that we found, such as bottle glass and ceramic, came out heat-altered, possibly indicative – along with the charcoal and other debris – that this structure burned down.
Since we had a fair number of people out with us and a backlog of artefacts to be washed, we also had the field lab going for the first time since the beginning of the programme. Making use of our enormous bins of water at last, we washed the artefacts and then carried them into a specially prepared rack in the visitors’ centre to dry overnight.
As the ‘window’ area came down further, larger chunks of iron started showing up, as below.
At this point, we can say that the stones aren’t structural, so we were right to remove them. In doing so, we’re finding what looks to be a relatively thin destruction layer with a fair number of artefacts, then an ensuing amount of pure clay with the occasional artefact. Too early to say how much of this clay there will be, but a productive day nonetheless.